Africa’s leading philanthropy group, the Tony Elumelu Foundation has announced a partnership with the European Union to identify, train, mentor and fund 2,500 young African women entrepreneurs in 2021.  

The partnership will disburse  €20 million in financial and technical support for women-owned businesses, across all 54 African countries.

This is in addition to providing increased access to market linkages, supply chains and venture capital investments. The joint initiative will significantly strengthen and deepen the EU-Africa partnership.

The move forms part of the EU’s investment plan to support women economic empowerment within its gender action plan.

Commenting on the landmark partnership, Tony Elumelu, Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation said “we are delighted to partner with the European Union, sharing our unique ability to identify, train, mentor and fund young entrepreneurs across Africa.  This joint effort will prioritise and provide economic opportunities for African women, who for too long have endured systemic obstacles to starting, growing and sustaining their businesses.  

“Our partnership will alleviate the funding, knowledge and market constraints threatening the livelihoods of women entrepreneurs on the continent, to create more income, jobs, growth and scale for women-owned businesses.”

The EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said “this partnership with the Tony Elumelu Foundation will help women participants in economic development, realise their full potential and accelerate economic inclusion.

“Empowering women entrepreneurs is a key driver for sustainable jobs and growth, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and in line with the objectives of our African Strategy.  Women and girls represent half of the world’s population and they deserve equal opportunities.”

The Tony Elumelu Foundation, which marks 10 years of impact this year, is empowering a new generation of African entrepreneurs, catalyzing economic growth, driving poverty eradication and ensuring job creation across all 54 African countries.  

The Foundation has trained, mentored and funded nearly 10,000 young African entrepreneurs from 54 African countries, and continues to provide capacity-building support, advisory and market linkages to over 1 million Africans through its digital networking platform, TEFConnect.